Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY

Packers GM Ted Thompson’s Offensive Line Draft History

With 20 draft picks invested on the offensive line, some trends have emerged that shed some light on who GM Ted Thompson will pick at guard.

This will be Ted Thompson’s 13th draft running the Green Bay Packers. Dusting off a series we wrote in 2015, we look back on his previous 12 drafts and try to find trends that might be worth remembering as we look ahead to this year’s draft. We continue this series with the offensive line.

TACKLES (11)

2006, 5th round — Tony Moll, Nevada (6-4 1/4, 300; no data for 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle; bench press or arm and hand size): Moll started 22 games in six NFL seasons (three years with Green Bay), including 10 at right guard and right tackle as a rookie. Moll, a collegiate tight end and left tackle, was the 29th of 49 linemen selected and ranked 27th in the O-line class in starts. Taken 11 picks later by Oakland, Kevin Boothe started 62 games in nine seasons. Eleven picks after that by San Diego, Jeromey Clary started 93 games in seven seasons. Grade: C.

2007, 4th round — Allen Barbre, Missouri Southern St. (6-4. 300; 4.88 40; 4.63 shuttle; 28 bench; 33 1/2 arms; 10 1/4 hands): Look up the term “Workout Warrior” in the dictionary and you’ll find Barbre. Just look at that 40 time. That performance helped him be the 16th of 40 linemen selected. Barbre, a left tackle in college, finally got his chance to start in 2009 but was beaten like a drum at right tackle, where he started seven games until Mark Tauscher came to the rescue. Three picks later, the Packers could have had Manitowoc, Wis.-native Doug Free, who started 114 times for the Cowboys. Six picks later, they could have had Jermon Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowler with 112 starts. Barber, however, actually carved out a decent career. He ranks 15th in the O-line class with 36 starts. Of the 15 linemen drafted ahead of him, 10 didn’t play in a single game last season. Grade: F.

2008, 5th round — Breno Giacomini, Louisville (6-7 1/8, 303; 5.20 40; 4.63 shuttle; 23 bench; 32 1/8 arms; 9 5/8 hands): Giacomini, a college right tackle, played in all of one game for the Packers in 2008 and 2009. Taken 14 picks later, Green Bay could have had two-time Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks. As was the case with Barbre, Giacomini’s career blossomed once he left Green Bay. Seattle grabbed him off of Green Bay’s practice squad early in 2010 and he wound up starting 33 games in three seasons with the Seahawks and 36 more the past three seasons with the Jets. So, while Giacomini was the 23rd lineman selected, he’s tied for ninth with 70 starts. Of the 22 linemen selected before Giacomini, 11 didn’t play last year. Grade: F.

2009, 5th round — Jamon Meredith, South Carolina (6-4 5/8, 304; 5.03 40; 4.82 shuttle; 31 bench; 34 1/2 arms; 10 hands): Meredith, a college left tackle, was the 27th of 41 linemen selected and tied for 19th with 27 career starts. How’s this for perspective: Taken 160 picks earlier, No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith started only 26 games in four seasons. None of Meredith’s starts, however, came during his two stints with the Packers. He was released at the end of his rookie training camp and taken off the practice squad by Buffalo. He started games with the Bills, Buccaneers and Titans but hasn’t played since 2015.  Grade: F.

2010, 1st round — Bryan Bulaga, Iowa (6-5 3/8, 314; 5.22 50; 4.75 shuttle; 26 bench; 33 1/4 arms; 9 1/4 hands): Bulaga, the 23rd overall pick, was the first first-round lineman selected by Thompson and the sixth of 38 linemen selected in this draft. Of the five linemen drafted ahead of Bulaga, four have combined for 15 Pro Bowls. Due to injuries, he ranks ninth with 76 career starts. When healthy, Bulaga has played up to his draft position. He was exceptional in 2014 and 2016, when he started 31 of a possible 32 games and helped the Packers reach NFC Championship Games. He’s allowed 13.5 sacks the past three seasons. Grade: B-plus.

2010, 5th round — Marshall Newhouse, TCU (6-3 3/4, 319; 5.00 40; 4.60 shuttle; 25 bench; 34 arms; 10 1/4 hands): Say what you want about Newhouse from his time with the Packers, but he was a steal as the 27th lineman selected and pick No. 169 overall. Newhouse started 31 games in three seasons for the Packers and has 56 starts in six seasons — tied for 14th-most in this O-line class. He gave up seven sacks in 24 games (20 starts) for the Giants the past two seasons after yielding 26 sacks in 46 games (21 starts) for the Packers. He shouldn’t be a starter but you could do worse from a depth perspective. Grade: C-plus.

2011, 1st round — Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State (6-5 3/8, 321; 5.28 40; 4.63 shuttle; 29 bench; 35 3/8 arms; 11 hands): Sherrod was the eighth of 36 linemen drafted and the last of eight first-rounders. However, Sherrod made just one start — in 2014, when Bulaga missed the Jets game with a knee injury. His career, of course, was doomed by a broken leg sustained at Kansas City as a rookie. Of the 40 offensive linemen selected, only 10 started zero or one games. Grade: F.

2012, 7th round — Andrew Datko, Florida State (6-6, 315; 5.32 40; 4.54 shuttle; DNP bench; 33 7/8 arms; 10 hands): Datko, after an injury-plagued career at Florida State, was the 36th of 37 linemen selected but never played a down. He spent 2012 on the practice squad and failed to make the team in 2013. Seven picks later, the Steelers got a steal with SMU offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, who boasts 54 career starts. Grade: F.

2013, 4th round — David Bakhtiari, Colorado (6-4 1/4, 299; 5.09 40; 4.74 shuttle; 28 bench; 34 arms; 9 1/2 hands): Bakhtiari is the steal of steals. While the overwhelming majority of starting left tackles are harvested in the first round, Green Bay got Bakhtiari in the fourth. He was the 19th of 41 linemen selected but ranks second in the class with 62 starts. Only Bakhtiari and first-round picks Kyle Long and Travis Frederick have been picked for Pro Bowls in this O-line class. During his first three seasons, Bakhtiari averaged 6.5 sacks and six holding penalties. That was enough to get a contract extension from the Packers. Bakhtiari rewarded the team by allowing three sacks with three holds in 2017. Grade: A-plus.

2016, 2nd round — Jason Spriggs, Indiana (6-5 5/8, 301; 4.94 40; 4.45 shuttle; 31 bench; 34 arms; 10 1/8 hands): Spriggs was the eighth of 41 offensive linemen selected. The seven players selected ahead of him started at least 11 games, as did four players selected after Spriggs. Any such comparisons are meaningless, though. Spriggs was drafted as a precaution should the team been unable to retain Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari is signed through 2020, Bulaga through 2019 and Spriggs through 2019, which means Spriggs is a man without a position barring injury. Heck, even his extra-tight-end reps have been eliminated now that the Packers added Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.

2016, 6th round — Kyle Murphy, Stanford (6-6 3/8, 305; DNP 40; DNP shuttle; 23 bench; 33 1/2 arms; 9 3/4 hands): If Spriggs has little chance to play, than Murphy has almost no chance. Murphy was the 36th of 41 linemen selected. Of the five drafted after him, only one played fewer than Murphy’s three games. Can he play guard? He’s awfully tall. The tallest guard in NFL history was Robert Gallery at 6-7 1/8. Murphy’s only three-quarters of an inch shorter.

GUARDS (6)

2005, 7th round — Will Whitticker, Michigan State (6-5 3/8, 336; 5.35 40; 4.75 shuttle; 29 bench; NA arms; NA hands): Whitticker was the 48th of 49 linemen selected and the last of 16 guards. He started 14 games as a rookie under then-coach Mike Sherman. When the Packers hired Mike McCarthy and went to a zone-blocking scheme, Whitticker was out. He didn’t play in 2006 and was with Washington in 2007, when he was hurt in training camp and released, never to surface in the league again. Of the 16 guards, he ranked 10th in starts but was one of only two to not play in 2006 or thereafter. Grade: D.

2006, 2nd round — Daryn Colledge, Boise State (6-4 3/8, 299; 5.04 40; 4.56 shuttle; 21 bench; 33 arms; 9 1/2 hands): Colledge, a collegiate left tackle, wound up finding his niche at left guard and the unit’s jack-of-all-trades when injuries struck, as he also started at right tackle and left tackle due to injuries. His versatility might have been a sin as he never developed into more than an average player. Colledge spent his first five seasons in Green Bay, starting all but four games during that span. He was the sixth of 49 linemen selected and ranks sixth in the O-line class with 137 starts. Two players taken shortly after Colledge, Marcus McNeill by San Diego and Andrew Whitworth by Cincinnati, have combined for five Pro Bowls. Grade: C-plus.

2006, 3rd round — Jason Spitz, Louisville (6-3 1/2, 313; 5.44 40; 4.55 shuttle; 25 bench; 31 1/2 arms; 9 1/2 hands): Spitz was the 15th lineman selected but ranked 22nd with 45 career starts in eight seasons. All of his starts came during his five seasons in Green Bay, with 41 of those starts in his first three seasons. Taken 33 picks later, the Saints grabbed six-time Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans. Twenty picks after Evans, the Seahawks selected seven-year starting guard Rob Sims. Grade: C-minus.

2008, 4th round — Josh Sitton, Central Florida (6-3 5/8, 319; 5.20 40; 4.50 shuttle; 28 bench; 33 5/8 arms; 9 7/8 hands): Sitton was the seventh linemen selected by Thompson and his first real success. Sitton, a collegiate right tackle who was not picked for the Scouting Combine, was the 22nd of 40 linemen selected and ranks second with 124 starts and tied for first with four Pro Bowls. Simply, he has been one of the best guards in the NFL for several seasons. According to STATS, he’s allowed one sack the past four seasons, including zero with Chicago last year. Grade: A.

2009, 4th round — T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan (6-4, 316; 5.15 40; 4.42 shuttle; 30 bench; 32 3/4 arms; 9 5/8 hands): During his final six seasons in Green Bay, Lang started 91 of a possible 96 regular-season games. His career really took off once he settled in at right guard in 2013. Lang, a two-year starting left tackle at EMU who, like Sitton, was not invited to the Combine, was the 18th of 41 linemen selected and ranks eighth with 94 starts. He’s one of only five from this O-line class to be selected for a Pro Bowl. Thompson clearly made the right choice, with Lang having more starts than the next eight offensive line picks combined. Lang gave up a combined 4.5 sacks the past three seasons. He returned home to Detroit to play with the Lions in free agency, leaving an enormous void on the Packers’ line. Grade: A.

2011, 6th round — Caleb Schlauderaff, Utah (6-4 1/4, 305; DNP 40; 4.81 shuttle; DNP bench; 32 1/4 arms; 9 3/4 hands): Schlauderaff was the 29th of 40 offensive linemen selected. After an undistinguished rookie training camp, Schlauderaff was traded to the Jets for a couple of bagels. He started one game for New York as a rookie and was released at the end of training camp the following summer. A dozen picks after Green Bay grabbed Schlauderaff, the Eagles found two-time Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce. Kelce has 78 starts and Derek Newton, who was picked 35 picks after Schlauderaff, has started 68 games. Schlauderaff was one of 10 linemen in this class that started zero or one games. Grade: F.

CENTERS (3)

2005, 5th round — Junius Coston, North Carolina A&T (6-3 3/8, 310; 5.33 40; 4.56 shuttle; 21 bench; 33 1/2 arms; 10 3/8 hands): Coston was the 26th of 49 linemen selected. A two-year starting center in college, Coston started seven games at right guard in place of Jason Spitz in 2007 and had a cup of coffee with the Raiders and Lions the next two seasons.  Chris Myers (128 starts), Geoff Hangartner (85), Joe Berger (68) and Chris Kemoeatu (53) are 50-game starters taken in the sixth round. Grade: D.

2013, 4th round — J.C. Tretter, Cornell (6-3 5/8, 307; 5.09 40; 4.69 shuttle; 29 bench; 33 3/8 arms; 10 1/8 hands): Tretter, a tight end and left tackle in college, was the 23rd of 41 linemen selected. Injuries, however, have defined his career. Tretter missed his rookie season with an ankle injury sustained during OTAs. He had won the starting job at center during his second season before suffering a knee injury in the third preseason game. He started at center for the first seven games of the 2016 season before another knee injury ended his season. Thus, he ranks 22nd in the O-line class with 10 starts. Taken in the fifth round, Jordan Mills and Ricky Wagner have combined for 97 starts. He signed with Cleveland for a chance to start — and a chance to change his luck. Grade: C-minus.

2014, 5th round — Corey Linsley, Ohio State (6-2 5/8, 296; 5.03 40; 4.53 shuttle; 36 bench; 32 arms; 9 7/8 hands): Tretter’s loss was Linsley’s gain. Linsley was the 31st of 45 linemen selected but, despite missing the first half of the 2016 season with a hamstring injury, ranks 11th with 38 starts. Of the six players considered centers before the draft who were selected, only Russell Bodine (fourth round, Cincinnati) has more starts than Linsley. In three seasons, Linsley has given up four sacks. Grade: B.

Overall grade: Through Thompson’s first three drafts, what grade would you give the group of Coston and Whitticker (2005), Colledge, Spitz and Moll (2006) and Barbre (2007)? Probably a D? But Thompson has built and maintained a quality line through a run of strong drafts that include Sitton (2008), Lang (2009), Bulaga (2010), Bakhtiari (2013) and Linsley (2014). That’s a relatively low-budget cost of one first-round pick, three fourth-rounders and one fifth-rounder. To get Bakhtiari — a premier player at a premium position for just a fourth-around pick — was the ultimate steal. Grade: B-plus.

What it means (if anything) for 2017: The Packers, like many teams, prefer drafting collegiate left tackles and moving them inside. Of Green Bay’s five starters last season, Lang, Bulaga and Bakhtiari were left tackles. Of Thompson’s 20 offensive line selections, 13 played left tackle in college.

The Packers head into this draft with the obvious need of replacing Lang. Since Mike McCarthy installed the zone-blocking scheme, the Packers have drafted four guards who became primary starters: Colledge, Spitz, Sitton and Lang. If there’s a common thread, it’s their 20-yard shuttle times. Lang was the fastest in 4.42 seconds, followed by Sitton at 4.50, Spitz at 4.55 and Colledge at 4.56. Former undrafted free agent Lane Taylor, who replaced Sitton, was timed in 4.72 at his pro day. In fact, Thompson has drafted a total of 10 linemen over the past seven drafts. Of the eight who played at least one game for the Packers, the slowest shuttle was Bulaga in 4.75.

Turning to this year’s draft class, Western Kentucky left tackle Forrest Lamp is considered the No. 1 guard. Indiana guard Dan Feeney, Temple left tackle Dion Dawkins and Pittsburgh guard Dorian Johnson form the second tier. Miami’s Danny Isidora, Utah’s Isaac Asiata and San Diego State’s Nico Siragusa (all guards) are considered the best of the rest. Their shuttle times: Siragusa, 4.56; Lamp, 4.62; Feeney, 4.68; Dawkins, 4.78; Isidora, 4.90; Asiata, 4.93; Johnson, 5.09. In that light, remember Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Corey Levin, an early Day 3 option who clocked a 4.73. He played guard and tackle at UTC. A wild card is Wyoming's Chase Roullier, who played center as a senior and guard as a sophomore and junior. He blitzed the shuttle in 4.47 that was the fastest by any offensive lineman by almost one-tenth of a second.

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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